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With scoring up, only tweaks proposed to college basketball

By Ralph D. Russo

AP College Sports Writer

Pleased with recent changes that have boosted offense, the NCAA basketball rules committee chose not to propose any drastic moves for next season such as breaking the men’s game into four quarters, pushing back the 3-point line or widening the lane.

The committee did encourage conferences and tournaments to experiment with some of those alterations as a way to get a handle on the possible effects they would have on a game they feel is trending in the right direction.

“Officiating continues to emphasize freedom of movement, physicality and free flow of the game,” Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot, the committee chairman, said Friday. “Adjustments for next season are going to be relatively minor which shows that I think most of the key stakeholders in the game feel like things are going well.”

Two years ago, the shot clock was dropped from 35 to 30 seconds. The rules committee also recommended officials crack down on what many coaches felt was overly physical play that restricted movement. Division I teams averaged 73.4 points per game last season, up from 67.5 in the 2012-13. Points per game and field-goal percentage (44.4 percent) last season were the highest since 1994-95. Possessions per game have gone up as well.

The proposals the committee announced Friday were more modest and included, increasing the size of the coach’s box from 28 to 38 feet; expanding the use of replay in the last two minutes to aid officials with some block-charge calls near the baskets and tweaking how the shot clock is reset.

The committee also proposed making throw-in spots in the front court more consistent, a mandatory minimum of 0.3 seconds be taken off the clock when the ball is legally touched and redefining a legal screen.

The committee also proposed allowing the Southeastern Conference to use a centralized replay system that would give on-court officials some help reviewing calls by officials not at game sites.

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel will consider the proposals in June.

As for the potentially big changes involving quarters, the 3-point line and the lane, Art Hyland, the committee’s secretary and rules’ editor, said all three are “still in play.”

In the NIT this year, team fouls were reset at the beginning of each half and 10 minutes into each half, mimicking four quarters. Hyland said similar experiments could be used this season with the 3-point line. He said collecting data on the playing with a wider lane is more difficult.

Hyland said potential issues with media partners over commercial breaks needed to be worked out before the men’s game could make the move from two 20-minutes halves to four 10-minute quarters. Women’s college basketball games are timed by quarters as NBA games and almost all high school games.

“In the meantime we’re trying some experimental rules that kind of creating quarters without really creating quarters, but you get some of the same benefits such as a reset of the one-and-one and other things coaches are in favor of,” Hyland said.

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